Mother finds it hard to be only woman in house

The Saline Courier - - OPINION - HARRIETTE COLE ••• Harriette Cole is a lifestylis­t and founder of DREAMLEAPE­RS, an ini­tia­tive to help peo­ple ac­cess and ac­ti­vate their dreams. You can send ques­tions to askhar­ri­[email protected]­ri­et­tecole.com or c/o An­drews Mcmeel Syn­di­ca­tion, 1130 Wal­nut St., Ka

“Congress shall make no law ... abridg­ing the free­dom of speech, or of the press ... . ” — From the First Amend­ment to Con­sti­tu­tion

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a woman with a hus­band and a 19-year-old son, and re­cently I’ve been find­ing it dif­fi­cult to be the only woman in the household. Some­times it feels like I can be heard only when I raise my voice. What course of action can I take to con­vey these feel­ings to my hus­band and my son in a health­ier man­ner? -- Mother’s Voice

DEAR MOTHER’S VOICE: Start by talk­ing to your hus­band. Re­mind him that this is an im­por­tant time for you both to have a good rap­port with your child, and you need his sup­port. Tell him that you have no­ticed that the two of them of­ten ex­clude you and that you find it nec­es­sary to shout in or­der to be heard. Ask your hus­band to help the fam­ily dy­nam­ics by notic­ing when each of them needs to stop and give you the floor, or at least wel­come you into the con­ver­sa­tion.

Next, talk to your son. Tell him about the im­por­tance of hav­ing mean­ing­ful con­ver­sa­tion. Ask for his sup­port. Be mind­ful not to ask too many ques­tions. Teenagers don’t like that.

•••

DEAR HARRIETTE: Oc­ca­sion­ally, I have dif­fi­culty with bouts of lone­li­ness. I have good friends and a good sup­port sys­tem around me; how­ever, some­times it feels that I cannot ex­press feel­ings that I in­ter­nal­ize. I’ve been go­ing to ther­apy to deal with this, but I’m hav­ing dif­fi­culty open­ing up to the therapist, and it seems like the ther­apy will not be ben­e­fi­cial to me. Is there any way for me be­come more com­fort­able ex­press­ing to oth­ers the thoughts that I’ve been in­ter­nal­iz­ing for so long? -- Mr. Lonely

DEAR MR. LONELY: It is dif­fi­cult to open up and share what’s go­ing on in­side for you. That is nor­mal. In or­der to get past that, you need to con­vince your­self that get­ting sup­port from a pro­fes­sional may help you to be free of your chal­leng­ing feel­ings. You have to be com­mit­ted to your men­tal health and to al­low­ing your­self to be vul­ner­a­ble so that you can sort through your feel­ings and come to a place of peace. Tell your­self that your men­tal health pro­fes­sional is there to help you reach your goals. If you don’t trust the pro­fes­sional you are us­ing, find some­one else. You must be able to trust your therapist.

Tell your therapist about your trep­i­da­tion. Ask this pro­fes­sional to help guide you into a calmer, more trust­ing space. The re­la­tion­ship that you de­velop with your therapist is key to your abil­ity to rec­og­nize your is­sues and tackle them.

As you have pointed out, you are the most im­por­tant per­son in this equa­tion. You have to want it bad enough to have the courage to do the work to re­veal your true self. Have pa­tience as you keep show­ing up. By stick­ing to this course of ther­apy, you may be able to work through why you are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing this type of lone­li­ness and how you can climb out of it. Good luck!

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